College offers student bursary after poor service

Priscilla Mbali of Orange Farm near Johannesburg has been battling since February 2015 to get a refund of more than R10 000 from Intec College after she and her son, Katlego, cancelled the course because the study materials took so long to arrive.

Her employer, Lucille Britz, from Roodepoort, told me Ms Mbali paid R11 655 for the course and after a long process they received a letter dated January 28 this year confirming she would get a refund of R10 905, after a R750 cancellation fee was deducted.

“I helped her to send all the documents they required and we checked and double-checked that her banking details, address and phone number were correct. We gave them my email address but apart from the letter confirming that they would give Ms Mbali the refund there was no other correspondence. All attempts to contact Intec proved futile except someone did say they would contact her. But nobody did: then they said the refund had been paid but she didn’t get any SMS alert, nor any correspondence, and no money reflected in her bank account,” Ms Britz said.

“To make matters worse, every time she calls them there is no one who knows what is happening, and of course, no supervisor is available. I do not know what more I can do to help her.”

Achmat Shakir, the call centre manager in Cape Town, wrote to Katlego saying that he would get a refund of R10 905 after deduct- ions.

Mr Shakir said the cancellation request was received on April 14, 2015 and they needed confirmation of the cancellation request by February 8, 2016. Which was done. Thereafter it was mostly the sounds of silence.

But every dark cloud has a silver lining. A day or two after I contacted Educor, under whose aegis Intec College is, Ms Mbali said she had been refunded. Usually, these correspondence colleges require the study material to be returned before they process a refund.

However, Ms Mbali had already cancelled the course when she received a call at work from the courier company that they were at the gate. She told them she had already cancelled and she would not be accepting the parcel.

Shane Shaw, customer services manager for Educor group, apologised to Ms Mbali for the service she and her son received.

“It has been identified as a human error. This is not the level of service we endeavour to offer to any of our students, and we offer our assurances that where necessary, corrective action will be taken to ensure that this does not reoccur.

“While we are glad that we could finally resolve the matter and pay the refund, we sincerely regret that Mrs Mbali chose to remove her son from Intec. We would welcome the opportunity to redeem ourselves in her eyes, and would like to offer him a R5 000 bursary for any future studies he may wish to pursue. The details will be forwarded to them separately,” Mr Shaw said.

Ms Britz told me: “You are an absolute star. Thank you so much for your time and effort on Ms Mbali’s behalf – it makes a very real difference to her life, both financially and emotionally, to have this resolved.”

Ms Britz wrote to Mr Shaw: “Ms Mbali has asked me to thank you and Brian for resolving the issue as it has taken a toll on her both financially and emotionally. She will be very pleased to accept the bursary offer as it will enable her son, who is currently not working, to get a qualification of some kind.”

Ms Britz asked Mr Shaw to help Ms Mbali and Katlego make the right study choices and to help them throughout the process so they can make an informed decision.